Looking For A Tearjerker? Here Are 30 Movies Guaranteed to Break Hearts

Sometimes, all we need in life is a movie to break our hearts and make us cry. When we’re going through a rough time, watching an emotional movie can be extremely cathartic.

Are you looking for a good movie? These 30 films will break your heart and have you reaching for the tissues.


The Fault in Our Stars
Photo Credits: Josh Boone, 20th Century Studios.

If you haven’t had your fill of tragic love stories yet, The Fault in Our Stars is a good pick to end your night of love and tears. As a movie that is successfully adapted from a bestselling book, you best believe that The Fault in Our Stars would find its way to our list of tear-jerker movies.

Like its book, the movie had a strong grip on the young adult fan base. The story starts straightforwardly: two cancer-afflicted teens meet at a cancer support group. They take a liking to each other and decide they want to go on an adventure to see a renowned author in Amsterdam.

The plotline is a mix of a coming-of-age movie and a tragedy. The characters are witty, and their actions are unconventional. However, nothing matters anyway if you don’t have much time to live.


Photo Credits: Adrian Molina, Lee Unkrich, Walt Disney Studios.

The second Disney movie to make our list has a good reason to be here. There are specific scenes in the film as it reaches its climax and ending that will leave you in a puddle of tears. Coco hits hard for those struggling with their family and trying to break out of familial expectations.

Miguel finds himself in the Land of the Dead as he steals a guitar that supposedly belonged to his great-grandfather. In this world, he is met with all his dead relatives and befriends a soul that cannot crossover. As he searches for his great-grandfather and learns the dark truth, we can’t help but hold on to the edge of our seats.

Coco may be a colorful and enchanting movie, but hidden behind those enigmatic colors is a story that will hit you right in the heart. This is one of those Disney tear-jerker movies that will make you cry and laugh.


P.S. I Love You
Photo Credits: Richard La Gravenese, Alcon Entertainment, Warner Bros.

From the get-go, you will be hit with sadness as the story only begins with the death of Gerry. The story takes part in both New York City and Ireland. We follow his wife, Holly, as she unravels a string of letters he left behind. There are a total of 10 letters that will guide Holly and us along this journey.

Truthfully, you’ll find yourself in a sea of tears as Gerry’s letters are more geared towards pushing Holly to live without him. Plus, an imaginary version of him is there every step of the way. Although the letters are intended to ease the pain and make it easy for her to move on, moving on is never easy.

For those who have lost a loved one, P.S. I Love You may bring back some sad memories. However, just like Holly, we hope you’ll one day be able to move on.


Photo Credits: Garth Davis, The Weinstein Company.

In a moving performance by Dev Patel, we go through the challenges of abandonment and finding those who we’ve lost. Lion is about a boy who gets lost in the streets of a village in India and is subsequently adopted by an Australian couple. Now an adult, he is determined to find his family and reconnect with them once more.

Plus, due to his adoption, he gets separated from his homeland and his family. He searches for them, then travels to India. There, he reunites with lost family and distant relatives. At the same time, some complications occur in his adoptive family. There is no reprieve in this movie.

This may hit a little harder if you’re distant or have been separated from your family. It also goes to show that some bonds can never be broken.


Bridge to Terabithia
Photo Credits: Gabor Csupo, Walt Disney Pictures, Paramount Pictures.

What started as a harmless, imaginative fantasy movie became a somewhat unexpected encounter with grief and death. The thing about Bridge to Terabithia is that it catches you off-guard when you watch it for the first time. Especially if you have no clue what the movie is about.

Two kids, Leslie and Jess, find companionship with each other as they create a fictional world in the woods called Terabithia. They make this imaginary world as an escape from their troubling reality, and it works for a while. They become rulers of Terabithia, with magical creatures roaming around the forest.

Yet all this comes to an end due to an unexpected freak accident. It shows that the worst could happen anytime or any day. There is no anticipating it.


Photo Credits: Barry Jenkins, A24, Camera Film.

A slightly different variation on our list of tear-jerker movies is Moonlight. Instead of death or the loss of a loved one, we turn the battle inward. With Moonlight, it is more of an inner struggle of sexuality, identity, insecurity, and more. This coming-of-age movie explores a side many of us struggle with, even as adults.

The movie is split into three phases of Chiron’s life – childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. He underwent so much emotional and physical abuse as a child growing up. So much so that as he matures, he struggles with his identity, masculinity, and sexuality.

Moonlight showcases a masterful way of handling tough themes of fragile masculinity, sexuality, and adulthood. You’ll find yourself moved to tears for Chiron and perhaps even yourself.


The Iron Giant
Photo Credits: Brad Bird, Warner Bros.

Honestly, who knew there were so many animated movies with metaphors for anti-war lessons? Before starting this list, we’re sure it never occurred to you. The Iron Giant is said to be a take on the Cold War that subtly shuns the use of weapons and guns.

More importantly, it’s about a boy and a giant iron robot with a heavy message of love, heroism, and empathy. The boy discovers and befriends this giant iron robot, and a paranoid military man wants to destroy him. As the boy tries to hide and protect the robot, chaos ensues.

Regarding The Iron Giant, the feels don’t hit you immediately. It slowly builds to the climax, where you’ll be in tears as you watch everything play out.


Me and Earl and The Dying Girl
Photo Credits: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, Searchlight Pictures.

Here, on the indie side of things, there is a movie that will make you cry and ponder about loneliness. We wouldn’t expect anything less with ‘Dying Girl’ in the title. Me and Earl and The Dying Girl is about three friends – Greg, Earl, and Rachel.

Greg is a socially awkward teen forced to befriend Rachel, his classmate who has leukemia. One of his hobbies is to make parodies of famous films, which he shares with his close friend Earl and eventually Rachel. As Rachel starts chemotherapy and her health deteriorates, Greg makes a film for her.

There are layers to this movie that can be difficult to explain all at once. It’s a movie on friendship, loss, empathy, choice, and more. And just like everyone who watched it, you will indeed find your eyes filling up with tears.


Pieces of A Woman
Photo Credits: Kornel Mundruczo, Little Lamb, Bron Studios.

It is a story of grief that we don’t often see in media or talk about more often in society, even among women. Pieces of A Woman is about the trauma of childbirth, child loss, and the emotional turmoil that comes after.

The movie opens with Martha giving birth at home, which ends in tragedy. At the loss of her child, Martha is thrown into the darkest period of her life as she battles grief and depression. As the midwife gets blamed and dragged to court for her loss, her relationship with everyone around her also starts to fall apart.

Pieces of A Woman showcases the deep pain, loss, and loneliness a woman could feel as she goes through the worst imaginable situation. To add salt to the wound, everyone else is too preoccupied with their own needs to even care about hers.


The Notebook
Photo Credits: Nick Cassavetes, New Line Cinema.

One of the greatest romance movies of all time has got to make you shed a couple of tears, right? The Notebook has some iconic romantic scenes, but their heart-wrenching scenes are equally as iconic. Just when you think the two will finally have their happy ever after, it gets taken away once more.

In this love story of Ally and Noah, we watch them fall in love in the summertime, get separated by war and parental disapproval, and reunite again. As the story interchanges with the elderly version of Ally and Noah, we uncover a dark truth that shatters any illusion of a happy ending.

Without a doubt, The Notebook plays our heartstrings with the ‘will they, won’t they’ end up together plotline. It seems so unfair that even after all they’ve been through, that is how their story ends.


Hachi: A Dog's Tale
Photo Credits: Lasse Halstrom, 20th Century Studios, Sony Pictures, Stage 6 Films.

If stories about animals or pets are your weak spot, you might want to look away. Hachi: A Dog’s Tale will make you want to hold your pets closer and never let go. The phrase, ‘A dog is a man’s best friend,’ rings true in this one. This true story follows a college professor, Parker Wilson, and an Akita Inu named Hachi. Parker takes in an abandoned dog, and they form a solid, inseparable bond with each other throughout the years. Hachi waits for Parker’s return from work every night at the train station. But tragedy lurks in the corner, and a bittersweet ending ensues.

Even if the movie is American, the story itself originates from Japan. You can even visit the Hachiko Memorial Statue located in Shibuya Station. However, it’s safe to say that in any language or country, this is one of those certified tear-jerker movies for sure.

12. ROMA

Photo Credits: Alfonso Cuaron, Netflix, Espectaculos Filmicos El Coyul.

Not only is Roma a visual masterpiece, but its storytelling is an emotional wonder of love, nostalgia, and sadness. For those unaware, Roma was shot entirely in black and white and directed by Alfonso Cuaron. To make things more sentimental, he even added to the storyline based on his childhood memories of Mexico.

In Roma, we follow the life of a housekeeper in a middle-class Mexican family. The movie showcases the harsh realities of being a housekeeper and a woman in 1970s Mexico. As we experience some heartfelt moments throughout the movie, the ending is where it truly gets sad—evoking tears from even the most stone-cold hearts.

There’s more to this award-winning story with complicated relationships, infidelity, and the strength shared between women. Undoubtedly, there’s a reason it gained so much recognition during its release.


My Girl
Photo Credits: Howard Zieff, Columbia Pictures.

In a similar vein as Bridge to Terabithia but admittedly more profound and real, My Girl showcases two kids in a life-altering summer. Who knew two 11-year-olds could cause so much heartbreak in one movie? We didn’t until this one came along.

Vada is a hypochondriac brought up in a funeral parlor and is obsessed with death. She befriends Thomas, who seems to be allergic to everything. Things start taking a turn when her father starts dating someone, and Vada tries her best to disrupt their relationship with Thomas’ help. Sadly, as life would have it, one of their plans goes awry, with Thomas at the short end of the stick.

My Girl tackles themes of mental illness, grief, and the growing pains of adolescence, especially for someone so young.


Dear Zachary: A Letter to A Son About His Father
Photo Credits: Kurt Kuenne, Oscilloscope, Mongrel Media.

Dear Zachary starts as a video project homage to showcase how great a father was to his unborn son. Yet somehow, along the way, it became a devastating documentary that premiered at film festivals. This is filmmaker Kurt Kuenne’s beautifully intriguing tribute to his friend.

This heartfelt documentary is partly a homage and partly a crime thriller, as Andrew Bagby – the center of the documentary – was brutally murdered. He was shot by his ex-girlfriend, who fled the country pregnant with his child. Andrew’s parents launched a series of campaigns to gain custody of the child and bring justice to Andrew.

It is the only non-fiction movie on this tear-jerker movies list and with good reason. It’s a project specially formulated to make anyone cry and scream with rage by the end of it.


The Pursuit of Happyness
Photo Credits: Gabriele Muccino, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Releasing.

A man at the lowest point of his life with a child to care for, navigating the streets and the challenge of homelessness. As this is autobiographical, the events of this movie are taken directly from Chris Gardner’s life. He spent a year as a homeless person, detailed in his book and movie.

Plus, having the father and son duo of Will Smith and Jaden Smith brings something so real and heartfelt to the movie. As it goes, Chris Gardner is now homeless, wifeless, with a child to fight for and an unpaid brokering internship. It’s just one challenge after another. Truly, the man can’t catch a break.

Even so, the love and bond between father and son will bring tears to your eyes. No matter how hard life gets, at least the two have each other.


One Day
Photo Credits: Lone Scherfig, Focus Features, Universal Pictures.

An adaptation of a novel of the same title by David Nicholls. The best way to describe One Day is a slow burn that only increases in melancholy and bittersweet sadness. It’s not the exasperating form of sadness but more of a wistfulness about life.

One Day is about two people meeting up with each other on the same day every year. As time passes, they both realize they have much in common. Everything around them changes, but they seem to get closer to each other. Eighteen years come and go, and they continue to meet each other on July 15th.

This is not really a love story in the traditional sense. You will feel taken by the characters, wishing they made a different choice initially.


A Walk to Remember
Photo Credits: Adam Shankman, Warner Bros.

With a line like ‘You have to promise not to fall in love with me,’ you know we’re already in for a treat. Especially since the exact opposite of that happened, the two of them fell in love. Hard. Which makes the movie ten times more sad than it would have been.

Landon is a delinquent sent to community service, partly involving performing in a spring play. Here, he meets Jamie, the wallflower who happens to be the reverend’s daughter. He falls in love with her, but their romance is short-lived as Jamie has a hidden secret that ends everything.

A Walk to Remember is a movie you will remember for a time, even after days have passed. It’s just in how the film makes you fall in love with the two characters, fully aware that you shouldn’t, then take them away.


Inside Out
Photo Credits: Pete Docter, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

Disney knows what they’re doing to evoke emotions in their audience. And no, their audience consists of more than just kids and teens. Adults can be swayed as well; Disney adults are a true phenomenon.

Inside Out is a coming-of-age movie with anthropomorphic emotions that brings out a lot of complex and typically hidden challenges for a growing teen. We watch as the two primary emotions of this story – Joy and Sadness attempt to make Riley fall back into her happy self again.

Even as an adult, watching someone go through the conflicting emotions of self-identity is tough. The conflict between Joy and Sadness is one we all go through at some point in life, especially in letting go of our past selves and moving forward with the future.


Little Miss Sunshine
Photo Credits: Valerie Faris, Jonathan Dayton, Searchlight Pictures.

It is a tragicomedy where you’ll laugh, cry, and feel a little disturbed. Little Miss Sunshine follows a dysfunctional family that travels across the country, so their little girl can join a beauty pageant. The odd bunch consists of two varying ends of the spectrum, from quiet and depressed to loud and motivational.

The road trip across the country is fuelled by family tension with a van that constantly breaks down throughout the journey. Each family member struggles with their issues, which continue to unravel as they spend time together. At one point, it seems like the little girl is the only thing that seems to hold everyone together.

There’s a lot to take in and uncover in Little Miss Sunshine, notably lessons on family values and being supportive of each other in hard times. Personally, the moment when everyone comes together is what earned the movie a spot on this list of tear-jerker movies.


Marley & Me
Photo Credits: David Frankel, 20th Century Studios, FilmFlex.

You might be thinking, ‘Another movie about a dog?’ Well, yes. Another movie about a dog. But this time, you’ll have some laughs before the inevitable sadness. Plus, movies about dogs always have a soft spot with most people. Dogs are one of the most beloved animals on Earth, after all.

Marley & Me starts with a couple adopting an adorable and energetic pup, Marley. He witnesses the family’s ups and downs, setting up some life lessons for family members. Marley’s charm will get you to fall in love with him and subsequently bawl your eyes out.

The ending is tragic, but one that would resonate with many pet owners, especially those who have to let their pets go as a natural course of age and time.


Grave of the Fireflies
Photo Credits: Isao Takahata, Toho Co. Ltd, StudioCanal UK.

We are starting it off strong with this heart-wrenching animation from Studio Ghibli. Grave of The Fireflies is set during WWII in Japan. We watch how easily war devastates entire regions and destroys families. Notably, we follow the lives of two siblings as they run off to survive independently after being separated from their parents.

This movie is based on a short story by Akiyuki Nosaka and is truly devastating. You’ll come out of it appreciating everything and everyone around you. Even fruit drops would bring a whole new meaning by the movie’s end. Grave of The Fireflies is an important lesson on the effects of war and one we should not forget anytime soon.

Additionally, this is one of Studio Ghibli’s most prominent and devastating movies. It is to bring more awareness to the devastation of war at a time when countries were aching to conquer each other.


Steel Magnolias
Photo Credits: Herbert Ross, TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Truthfully, you’ll start watching Steel Magnolias with a smile and some laughter as you watch them prepare for a wedding. Yet, as things unfold and we get to know the characters better, you’ll realize that nothing is as it seems. Another important lesson you’ll gain from Steel Magnolias is how important friend groups are in hard times and times of grief.

Furthermore, this movie showcases the strength and adversities of a mother and a mother’s love. You may start with laughter, but you’ll end up in tears for more scenes than one. If you are a mother or a woman, this will hit harder than expected. Nonetheless, it’s a beautiful story that everyone should experience.

Steel Magnolias is simply one of those tear-jerker movies that will most definitely leave you devastated.


Jojo Rabbit
Photo Credits: Taika Waititi, Fox Searchlight Pictures.

It is a satirical dramedy on a child’s fanaticism toward Hitler; no one truly realizes their deep hole until they start shedding a couple of tears along with Jojo. Underneath all the layers of Hitler propaganda and satirical Jew hate, there is a scared child. Taika Waititi did a number with this one.

A Hitler Youth Cadet, Jojo Betzler, is a huge fan of Hitler, to the point where his imaginary best friend is Hitler himself. But everything he believes in gets shaken up when he discovers his mother harboring a Jew. As he questions and gets roughed up by the Jew, he starts questioning his beliefs and feelings towards them.

There were a lot of moments where you’ll find yourself feeling angry or sad over the circumstances that both characters find themselves in. Truly, Jojo’s life is a series of unfortunate events.


A Star is Born
Photo Credits: Bradley Cooper, Warner Bros.

With this, Lady Gaga cements herself as an icon that excels in singing and acting. There are mixed opinions on her acting, with some criticizing her performance as stoic while others praising it as moving. At this point, that opinion is one you should form on your own.

A Star is Born follows a struggling artist, Ally, who meets famously talented musician Jackson, who takes her under his wing. As an artist, he has a lot of baggage and internal demons hounding him. He struggles with alcoholism and drugs, amongst others. Ally skyrockets to fame, causing their relationship to be strained.

This title is a classic story of Hollywood celebrities – one succeeds, and another succumbs to their demons. It dIt doesn’t make it any less moving, though, especially their particular song – Shallow- that still evokes emotion today.


Charlie St.Clouds
Photo Credits: Burr Steers, Universal Pictures.

Death is never an easy thing to tackle. Everyone has their way of coping with the passing of someone they hold dear. This time, we are brought along Charlie St.Cloud’s journey as he’s bound for college.

As an accomplished sailor with a bright future ahead of him, you would think that nothing could bring him down. Well, until his little brother passes away in a tragic accident. Yet, for some unknown brotherly bond reason, he meets his brother every day an hour before sunset to play catch.

All this may sound borderline creepy, but seeing it is rather heartwarming. Charlie then meets a girl and falls in love. Now, it’s on him to figure out whether he wants to remain stuck in the past or march ahead with what could be the love of his life. There’s a lesson about moving on in there somewhere.


The Green Mile
Photo Credits: Frank Darabont, Warner Bros, United International Pictures.

A movie set on death row during the Great Depression is hardly something you think would bring tears to your eyes, but The Green Mile will do that to you. The movie centers around two people – a police warden, Paul Edgecomb, and a prisoner, John Coffey.

The story is a flashback by a retired Paul in an old folk’s home. Throughout the movie, John is a mild-mannered man, even with his imposing stature. He heals incurable diseases and, at some point, even resurrects a beloved pet rat. Additionally, we are met with some psychotic and violent prisoners as well.

There’s a lot to be said about the criminal injustice and unfairness of the system regarding African Americans. The Green Mile will have you pondering that for a while.


A Silent Voice
Photo Credits: Naoko Yamada, Shochiku.

It’s the only anime on this list, and it has a lot for viewers to unpack. A Silent Voice or Koe no Katachi tackles several issues and themes simultaneously. This title presents a take on bullying, isolation, forgiveness, and coming of age. There’s more, but we think that suffices as a broad summary.

Shouko is a deaf girl who moves into a new school, where she gets heavily bullied by Shoya and his friends. Shoya is then framed as the sole perpetrator of the bullying and isolated by everyone as Shouko moves to a different school. Years later, Shoya is a depressed student, but he makes amends before doing the deed. As such, he finds Shouko again.

Truthfully, A Silent Voice can be a loaded anime, so watch it at your own pace. Do be warned that there are heavy and triggering themes throughout.


Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind
Photo Credits: Michel Gondry, Focus Features.

Anyone who has ever gone through a break-up knows the feeling of wanting just to forget it all. But is that truly what you want? You should ask yourself this question while watching this trippy movie on the idea of wiping someone from memory forever.

The movie starts with Joel and Clementine meeting and dating. However, we find out that they did date in the past, but both chose to erase their memories of each other. It was a tumultuous relationship filled with good and bad memories. We are brought back into the past, where Joel decides to erase his memories, going through every single one.

Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind will leave you sad, overwhelmed, and longing for a past love. Indeed, it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. Note that this is not a sign to go back to your ex. That is in the loved and lost category.


Schindler's List
Photo Credits: Steven Spielberg, Universal Pictures.

Alright, this was not planned. However, having Jojo Rabbit on the list and not Schindler’s List seems like the ultimate crime. Although, Jojo Rabbit is infinitely more tame compared to what Schindler’s List has to offer. Jojo is child’s play, while Schindler is the price of war and genocide.

Oskar Schindler saves Jewish refugees from the Holocaust by employing them in his factories during WWII. He manages to save thousands of Jews from being killed or sent to concentration camps. Somehow, he manages to convince the German officers that they are needed in his factory rather than to ship them off.

Even to the end, Schindler’s empathy towards helping and saving the Jewish people continues to persevere. It is a small price to pay for the amount of lives he ends up saving.


Me Before You
Photo Credits: Thea Sharrock, Warner Bros.

We end the list with a true heart wrencher. Me Before You comes from Jojo Moyes’s bestselling novel, and it is another tragic love story. This time, it’s between Louisa Clark and Will Traynor. The movie is filled with intense emotions and a problematic choice towards the climax of it.

Louisa becomes a caretaker for Will, a wealthy, paralyzed man. As a character, Louisa is a bright and cheerful woman, which is at odds with Will’s cold and rigid demeanor. Yet, over time, the two start to bond, and they somehow find themselves in love. As life would have it, though, the two have differing opinions on their future, which sets them apart.

Even with such a tragic ending, there are sequels to the book – After You and Still Me, which chronicles Louisa’s future and life. We’re unsure whether another movie will come out after this one, but we best believe that one will be sad.

Read More From Us – 17 Movies With Zero Expectations That Blew Us Away

The Fugutive
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.


Never judge a book by its cover. You can say the same about movies.

Some of our favorite films are the ones we went into with no expectations. Despite this, they blew us away from start to finish.

17 Movies With Zero Expectations That Blew Us Away

Read More From Us – Classic 80s Movies Better Than Anything Released Today

Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

The 80s was an incredible time for film. From award-winning cinema to hilarious comedies and everything in between, there was something for everyone to enjoy.

Thankfully, many of these 80s movies still hold up today. I regularly find myself watching these beloved 80s movies more often than modern cinema.

Classic 80s Movies Better Than Anything Released Today

+ posts